Part 2 click here
Tom and I were at a standstill, stuck on the design for our own personal Barn Quilt for Shady Grove, so imagine my surprise when our local paper published a small notice about Suzi Parron, author of "Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement"'s upcoming visit, at the same time our local electric company, Blue Ridge Electric Co-op, published an article about Oconee County (our neighboring county), unveiling the 100th quilt block, of our Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail, on September 7, 2012. Blue Ridge Electric's article went on to say that "Oconee County was the first county in South Carolina to embrace the Quilt Trail concept that began in Ohio in 2001." Photos showed folks in a paint studio working on a couple of quilt blocks. It seems every where we turned, there's another mention of a Barn Quilt.
I knew I had to learn more about Barn Quilts so the calendar was marked for Aug. 25, to be at our Pickens County Museum of Art and History to meet Suzi Parron to hear what she had to share. Around the same time Deb, my sweet blog friend from Virginia, ( she and her mother came to visit earlier this year) posted about installing her beautiful quilt block gifted to her by her family; so, when I left a comment on her post, I also mentioned that Suzi would be in town and how I wished she could be here too, and by the way, would she like me to pick up a book for her when I purchase mine. Heading off to Pennsylvania's Amish country on an anniversary trip with her husband, she could not be here but said her mom and sister may drive over. Deb lives in Virginia, but her sister lives in the upstate SC and they 'share' their mother. Deb has the sweetest mom in the world and though I'd not met her sister before, I knew I'd recognize her through Deb's 'introduction' and her own blog B is for Bet. Of course I knew Deb's mom. Through sharing the word with a local quilt blog buddy 'Snoodles', at Lily Pad Quilting, said she might come too. Oh, I was really excited now.
I love our Pickens County Museum of Art and History. Housed in the old Pickens County Gaol (Jail), beautifully updated and configured to hold historical collections relevant to our local area's history, the Museum also showcases local art and artisans and invites and sponsors events, like Suzi's presentation and book-signing, in its new(er) lecture room addition. It is a treasure for our community. Admission is free.
Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail organization. What a nice lady. She is passionate about encouraging others to become involved in our Quilt Trail and she is THE person to contact if you want to be included in our Quilt Trail. (Click the Upstage Heritage Quilt Trail link for contact info). Turns out she, and her organization, were the folks who painted the Barn Quilts I'd recently photographed at Central Museum (click here to see them in part 2 of this series) and they were the same folks photographed in their paint studio in Blue Ridge Electric Co-op's recent article. I could hardly contain my surprise, and excitement, as those quilt blocks we saw at Central's Museum were a work of art, stunningly beautiful and by the way, could you please tell me what kind of wood was used! She not only shared 'how to' information, but invited me to come to their paint studio to learn more. (THAT will be another post for another day :) )
But, even more importantly, what I 'heard' from Martha, was that she encouraged folks to tie their Barn Quilt blocks to a family heirloom quilt/quilt block that had special meaning to them. It was a lightbulb moment for me
The lecture room was beginning to fill up by now and I'd been keeping an eye out for Deb's mom and sister, and my local blog friend 'Snoodles', when I realized..... I didn't know what 'Snoodles' looked like! Her blog is the cutest with Padsworth, the frog, posing for all the photographs so I figured, she probably knew what I looked like and I'd wait for a strange person to come up and say 'hello'. It was actually kind of a funny revelation, at the time. (Turns out she wasn't able to make it after all)
Settling in on the front row to get an up-close-and-personal view of Suzi's upcoming powerpoint presentation, enjoyed talking with the nice quilting lady I sat next to. Turns out she volunteers her time to paint quilt blocks for the Anderson area and was as nice as could be. Common denominator.... every one of these ladies were just plain 'nice' and eager to share their love of quilting and Barn Quilts.
Suzi's presentation was terrific! Informational, educational, entertaining and visual with photograph after photograph running through her powerpoint presentation as Suzi regaled us with her stories. Some sad, some funny but all were stories of people and how their lives were woven through these quilt blocks. Some Barn Quilt blocks were patterned after a beloved family heirloom quilt block, some symbolic of their farm or area, and all told a story. Suzi is a wonderful 'storyteller'. She has traveled throughout the United States, not only cataloging Barn Quilts, but encouraging and inspiring other areas to begin their own Quilt Trails that all began with co-author Donna Sue Groves' loving promise to her mother in 2001. Wonderful, touching story, as well as other Barn Quilt and Quilt Trail Movement stories, can be found in her book. Suzi also has a blog where she shares more stories and photos.
When her presentation was over, I found two sweet ladies at my elbow and turned around to say 'B is for Bet' as I instantly recognized Deb's sister and realized they'd been able to make it after all. Oh, it felt like old-home-week, let me tell you. Bet is as nice as her sister and 'Granny' is the sweetest of all. She's the basket-maker and I think of her everytime I look at my beautiful handmade baskets. Can you believe I left without snapping a single shot of my friends, only to return to catch them in the Museum's gift shop.
|One of my favorites|